GENESEO – The fire that tore through 71 to 73 Main Street in the Village’s business district Wednesday afternoon has destroyed at least one of Geneseo’s treasures, Kelly’s Saloon.
Geneseo Fire Chief Andrew Chanler said that the bar, an icon of the region, was lost in the blaze, as well as two apartments above.
“It’s probably a total loss, and this building and its occupant are kind of an icon,” said Chief Chanler. “The damage is very extensive. Getting to the initial fire’s location was very difficult. It was a tinder dry, primarily a frame building with a shingle roof. Right now we need to determine the building’s structural integrity.”
Chief Chanler added that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it started in the attic area behind Kelly’s and stayed hidden within the pre-1900’s structure for some time. He added that the loss of a Main Street business is something every Fire Chief dreads.
“Any small community is going to be deeply affected by a fire in their business district,” said Chief Chanler. “Every Fire Chief in any small town never wishes any fire, especially in the business district.”
Neighbors to the burning area apparently sprayed the fire with a garden hose before calling 911. Firefighters encountered their own challenges as they fought the fire in the 90-plus degree afternoon.
“The first hour was extremely difficult,” said Chief Chanler. “Heat exhaustion took its toll. Fortunately, we were able to contain the fire to the Kelly’s building.”
Firefighters with Geneseo Fire and Ambulance, Avon Fire, Caledonia Fire, East Avon Fire, York Fire, and Mount Morris Fire Departments respodnded to the scene alongside Livingston County EMS, Geneseo Police, The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, and New York State Police.
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